Monday, 13 September 2010

Interesting book links and my Top 10 Ghost Stories

In keeping with the current theme of all things dark and scary, here are two things that I found today that I really liked:

- if you're looking for a ghost story treasury to read, possibly one for a 8 years or up child also, this one sounds so good that I might get it for our spooky night stories:  from Bookslut:  Stories to Tell in the Dark post.

- I was looking for a listing of the Byrant and May mystery series to make sure I had bought the right one next in line, and came across Christopher Fowler's wonderful blog.  Filled with writing tips, publishing stories, all kinds of cool things, including this wonderful photograph that is just a little bizarre and oh so cool and very in keeping with RIP themes..  Very Dickensian too, and now I'm longing to go see London again. 

When did it become a stigma to read?
Yesterday, Chris at Book-a-rama had this lovely rant post about an article that appeared in the NY Times in August about people who read books.  I can see why she ranted.  Reading it, I am incensed too. What do you mean, there is a stigma against reading alone in public?  I am left shaking my head at this one.  If there is social stigma against reading a book, I'm not aware of it.  Since reading is intrinsically a pleasure for the self, it is of course going to be done alone.  I do know we have the 'book nerd' thing attached - at least I have.  But I lost any care about that long ago.  I didn't know I had a social stigma against me for reading.  I feel kind of cool anyway.  In my little corner of the world, books are cool and interesting, and best of all, I can take a book almost anywhere and open it up and read.  Plus, I've had people approach me and ask about the book, and go away to find a copy for themselves. Personally, I think talking on cell phones in public is far more intrusive, invasive, and socially unacceptable.  I'm quiet when I read, whereas you, young woman with your phone on your ear today on the bus talking incessantly beside me to someone -and really, if she drew a breath in ten minutes I didn't hear it - oh yes, give me a book any time.  If there's a stigma against reading alone in public (and is this an oxymoron too?), then there should be a taboo against talking loudly and in public on your cell phone in spaces where people can't get away from you.

If you're still looking for some horror books to read for Carl's RIP V challenge, then  here is a top 10 list from Charlie Higson over at Guardian Unlimited.  I agree with some of his choices, and I think I'm one of the few people to have read Daphne Du Maurier's Don't Look Now, as well as seen the movie, and they both scare me very much.  I would have put The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, and The Woman in Black by Susan Hill on the list. So.......this made me think:  what are my current top 10 of horror books?

Susan's Top 10 Horror Ghost stories books

1. The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson - my all time personal favourite ghost story.  Whatever walks at Hill House, walks alone.  Just writing those words makes goosebumps appear on me.
2. The Shining - Stephen King - I still hold this up as the best of his, although Duma Key is a very close second.  I might have to read them both again and compare........
3. The Terror - Dan Simmons - my book of the year two years ago.  Scared me, and still does. 
4. The Night Country - Stewart O'Nan - haunting and sad and beautiful.
5. Tamsin - Peter S. Beagle - my favourite ghost story featuring a ghost cat and ghost girl. 
6. The Prayer of the Night Shepherd - Phil Rickman (I swear, there are a couple of scenes in this book where I could feel the hair lifting on the back of my neck).  The scariest, so far, for me, in the series, just because that sense of the ghost was so authentic, and frightening for Merrily and for me.  Every book has eerie moments though, and is filled with a delicious sense of haunting and atmoshere.  Plus there is the ghost of Lucy. 
7. Swan Song - Robert R McCammon - still the best of the end of the world books, with evil stalking a lovely little girl, and the heroes who stand guard over her.  Due for a re-read
8. The Bone Doll's Twin series - Lyn Flewelling - it's not often a fantasy series uses a ghost so believably, and to such good purpose. Very dark fantasy and very very good.
9. The Uncanny - Andrew Klavan - gothic ghost horror story that is very good.
10. The Harrowing - Alexandra Sokoloff - classic ghost story setting: five young people, alone for the holidays in a university campus, and an ouija board.  What could go wrong?

 I can't remember if Swan Song has a ghost or not, though it's still one of the scariest books because it's so real, so possible, and the evil - yes, I dare you to read it, dear Gentle Reader, and tell me if you don't have a nightmare or two. 

So, have you read any of these? Do you agree with my list?  Do you have your own list?


Chris said...

Maybe it's the book nerd stigma. "Look at the nerd!" What are these people, 12?

Memory said...

There are actually people who think reading in public is bad??? In that case, I'm sunk. I read whenever I visit the park, and I often just plunk myself down on a random bench and take a wee reading break while I'm out walking.

Cath said...

I'll follow some of your links later tonight when I have more time. Look forward to it. But 'social stigma'? Reading alone? Never heard anything quite so silly. I love to see someone deep in a book. :-) And hate it when some twit is yelling down the phone, clearly wanting everyone to hear what he (it's usually a he) is saying. Sometimes I *really* don't want to hear what is being discussed. *blushes*

The only one I've read off your list is Tamsin, which I liked very much. So I'll make a note of some of the others. I've heard of the Flewelling series but have only read her Nightrunner books, which I absolutely adore. Also heard of The Terror and must get around to Dan Simmons at some point... I have Drood. At the moment my RIP read is The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff, a book given to me by the lovely Pat at Here, There and Everywhere. And it's not half bad.

Kailana said...

Thanks for the list. Like I really need MORE books tempting me to read them... :)

Kailana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mariel said...

Ooh ooh I so want to read Tamsin!! Good list ;)

zetor said...

Must admit I don't think I have read any of your list, but that could be because I am a bit of a scaredy cat, lol!!!
However reading in public is a popular pastime for me, doctor's/dentist's surgery any waiting place I love to read!!!

Eva said...

I've been working on my own favourite ghost book list, and I squealed to see yours! I have a copy of The Terror around here somewhere, I've read Hill House, Shining, and Tamsin, just heard about The Bone Doll Twin somewhere else and already requested, and now I want to go and request all of the other books you mentioned. Ghosts are the BEST! But since I'm moving soon, I'll hold off on requesting them and just putting them on the top of my TBR list. ;)

I've never heard of reading as a social stigma and think it's utter nonense. Silly people!

Molly said...

I also enjoyed the Haunting of Hill House, but I think We Have Always Lived in the Castle was even better for me.

I totally agree that The Woman in Black is a terrific addition to the ghost story list.

I have not yet read a Stephen King novel, but I am now totally convinced that my first one should be The Shining!

Daphne said...

Oh yay! Great list! I am just starting RIP since I just moved into our new house, but I need to catch up! These look so great (the ones I haven't already read, that is!)

Literary Feline said...

Ooo! Ghost stories! It's the perfect time of year for a topic like this.

Thank you for all the links. I hadn't caught he article about reading in public. It upset me too. I am proud to be a bookworm. At least when I'm in the doctor's office, I'm not staring off in space wishing the minutes would go by faster. Time flies when I have a book. And you don't often see people socializing there, even among those without books or magazines to read.

I'm afraid I haven't read any of the books on your top ten list, but several are on my TBR pile. The Shining is one I really do want to read--I need to find out how freezer worthy it really is . .

Nicole said...

I just reread your entry after seeing literary feline's comments and I was absolutely gob-smacked - fancy being scorned for reading in public, what a lot of nonsense. At least we are evidence that there are still people on earth who can actually read! What narrow mindedness, and what an excellent topic for an essay!!

I hope all is well in your world, you have been missed, no entry for a month now. As long as good books are keeping you from updating, and nothing more sinister:)

Susan said...

Chris: Yes, I think those people are 12! Good point! Since I carry a book just about everywhere, and I have a good social life, I wouldn't be surprised if the writers/interviewees were more than 20! thanks for your post, because it certainly got more people aware of how book people were being outcast once again. (or trying to be. why can't they pick on cell phone users?)

Memory: You and I, and everyone here, I think, are completely sunk!!! I read everywhere!

Cath: I love to see people reading too. It is silly isn't it? I wonder what the writer of the article really has against people who read?

Oooh, I have Enchantment Emporium on my shelf waiting to be read! I like Tanya Huff. How lovely of Pat to send it to you! I'll have to go find her post again, I think she really liked the book.

Kailana: we always need more books to tempt us!! that's my reasoning, anyway, for the stacks of books that keep coming into the house somehow, by yours truly :-) either that, or I have a low temptation threshold! Let me know if you read any on the list and what you think.

mariel: I'm surprised you haven't read Tamsin yet! Cats, ghosts, and teens, I would have thought you'd read it years ago! lol

zetor: oh, so many people are a little scared of ghosts, too. I have some friends who won't read ghost stories because they get nightmares. I love getting scared! Is there anything you can read at Hallowe'en, or this time of year?

Eva: Since it's been a month since I've been on here, I'll have to come catch up and see a) where you've moved to, and b) if you put your ghost list up! You know I love your reading tastes, so I have to see what made your list :-D

Molly: oh, I hope you get to read The Shining soon!!!!

Daphne: I have to come see your post for more pics and news about your lovely new home. And see if you've read any good ghost stories, since you find some really good books too!

Literary Feline: Thank you! and I love the sound of the 'freezer worthy' as a category of chills while reading ghost stories! Like Molly above, I hope you get to The Shining soon, I want to see what you and her think of it.

Nicole: Thank you so much for asking (and noticing)! It's been so busy - we just had our thanksgiving last weekend, and a bad cold has struck almost everyone in the house. I've been missing coming on here, and this is the first real chance I've had. I'm eager to see what everyone has been reading for the challenge :-) and I've been missing everyone too.